How to Unfreeze Frozen Pipes 

A common problem resulting from the frigid winter weather is frozen pipes. Most people know that frozen pipes are hazardous. But why?

Frozen pipes can burst, causing extensive water damage from the upstairs to the home’s lowest level. Pipes burst because water expands as it freezes, creating pressure on the pipes it flows through.

The pipes most frequently affected are those exposed to severe cold weather conditions, like in crawl spaces, attics, or kitchen cabinets. Pipes found on the exterior walls or areas with little to no insulation can quickly freeze and burst.

One of the best things you can do for your Springdale, AR, home is to learn to identify the signs of frozen pipes and prevent them from freezing. This guide will explain steps you can take to keep your lines from freezing and what to do if it happens.

Signs of Frozen Pipes 

One of the first signs of a frozen pipe is when there is no water coming through your faucet once it turns on. Ensure your water supply is still on and search for leaks if this happens. Continue inspecting your home to ensure no pipes have burst.

Other signs that your pipes may be frozen include:

  • Bulging pipes
  • Gurgling or banging sounds
  • Condensation and cracks
  • Sewage smell coming from your faucets

Any of these signs mean you likely have frozen pipes and should call a professional plumbing company like Stith.

Some people attempt to thaw frozen pipes on their own. While the choice is up to you, calling a professional plumber is wise for most homeowners in Springdale, AR. If you do not know how to unfreeze pipes, it could become dangerous to do anything yourself or wait it out.

How to Unfreeze Pipes 

We’ll always recommend that you call a nearby plumber, like Stith Plumbing and HVAC. However, you can take a few simple steps to help with the process.

Open Cabinet Doors 

The sink pipes are cut off from any warm air supply when the cabinet doors close. Keeping them open will allow warm air to circulate the pipes, thawing the affected area.

Keep the Faucet Open 

This may seem like a bad idea, but leaving the faucet open allows water to continue moving through the pipe, expediting the thawing process.

Additionally, as the pipes thaw, water and steam will be created. Open pipes will help this water exit the area and begin relieving pressure.

Apply Heat to the Frozen Area 

Applying heat is one of the quickest ways to thaw your frozen pipes. You can apply heat to the area in a few ways.

  • Wrap an electronic heating pad around the pipe
  • Wrap towels soaked in hot water around the pipe
  • Call a plumber and have them heat your pipes

These are temporary solutions, and no electrical device should be left unattended to prevent a fire. Do not use a blow torch to heat your pipes. There are many fire hazards involved in DIY thawing, so it’s recommended you call a professional for this step.

Once the pipes have thawed, check all remaining faucets in your home to ensure no other pipes are frozen.

Act Quickly 

If you suspect the frozen pipes are inside an exterior wall, don’t hesitate to call a nearby plumber. You may need repairs that require cutting a hole in the wall to expose the pipes to warm air.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes 

Just because you know how to unfreeze pipes doesn’t mean you should let your pipes freeze every winter.

You’ll want to take any necessary steps to prevent your pipes from freezing when the inevitable cold Springdale, AR, weather comes. Otherwise, the extreme temperature changes and wear and tear on your line materials could quickly ruin your pipes.

Keep Cabinet Doors Open When Cold Weather Hits

Sound familiar? Circulating warm air can prevent frozen pipes, but a closed cabinet door blocks the air from contacting the pipes, causing them to freeze. It’s crucial to keep these doors open to allow the warm air to circulate, especially around the home’s perimeter. The outer walls are often the coldest and quickest to freeze.

Allow Faucets to Drip 

Although the drip-drip-drip sound can be a bothersome noise to some, allowing warm water to move through the pipes continually helps prevent it from freezing. Running water doesn’t freeze as quickly as standing water.

If your local weatherman predicts a cold spell that will dip below the 30s, consider letting your faucets drip throughout the night. Of course, you may run up your water bill that month.

Regulate the Temperature 

Some Springdale residents try to save on heating costs by keeping the thermostat low or turning off the furnace altogether.

While this strategy may shrink your energy bill, it can damage your pipes and home. Keep your thermostat at 60 degrees or higher when you aren’t at home for the best results.

These are the most common practices used to prevent frozen pipes, but there are other steps you should consider to protect your home.

  • Drain water from pipes that lead to the swimming pool or sprinkler
  • Disconnect and drain hoses on the outside of your home
  • Prevent heat from escaping by insulating areas around vents and light fixtures
  • Seal any cracks in the walls
  • Properly seal doors and windows
  • Use a 60-watt bulb in areas you’re concerned will freeze

If you are using a light bulb, ensure no combustible materials near the bulb to prevent a fire.

How to Handle a Pipe that Has Burst

If your home has frozen pipes that burst, immediately shut off the main water supply to prevent additional damage. Call a nearby plumber in Springdale, AR, to repair your pipes and restore your water.

You will need to dry and dehumidify the water before it seeps into the floors or walls, leading to extensive damage.

Long-Term Frozen Pipe Prevention 

Thousands of people every year experience frozen pipes and the damage they cause. You might consider investing in long-term protective measures to keep your home and family safe. Long-term protection for your pipes includes:

  • Adding insulation
  • Replacing outdoor faucets with frostproof models
  • Rerouting your plumbing away from the colder areas of your home

While these are more extensive projects, the benefits far outweigh the cost.

With Stith Plumbing & HVAC as your local trusted plumber, there’s less reason to worry. Call us today to schedule an appointment! We’re here to help you take care of your pipes, no matter how cold the weather may be.